A Place That Makes You Stay, Luxurious Atmosphere, a New Kind of Beauty Supply!
Business owner Jaewook Woo of C&S Beauty Supply in Georgia
Business owner Jaewook Woo of C&S Beauty Supply in Georgia
Opened in June 2018, this beauty supply feels luxurious. Breaking out of the conventional red or yellow color of beauty supply signs, a purple colored store sign generates a fresh air. Inside the store, you encounter a luxurious retail space that feels unlike any typical beauty supply store. We met the business owner Jaewook Woo of C&S Beauty, who assured that its store interior was one of few, probably less than 20 in the entire U.S.
Start Living in America Later in Life
He is of 65 years of age now. His first day in America was in his 50. Although he had a late start as an immigrant, he was right into the beauty supply business given the influence of a relative who ran a beauty supply store. It was not that difficult as he already had business experience in South Korea where he headed a resilient company of 30 employees that firmly withstood the IMF crisis. Mr. Woo had his son, an only child who was in elementary school, studying in the U.S. even before he immigrated to the U.S. At the time, his son was staying with his relative. Later, he got a green card based on a brother’s petition. Every six months, he had to visit the U.S. to maintain his immigration status. While he felt sorry for his son staying alone, the U.S. authorities started to doubt his intention. In the end, he decided to settle in the U.S. and sold his business. He had good business skills; although he started off by purchasing one of the two beauty supplies owned by his relative, he soon took over the other place as well. When asked about his secret, he said there was nothing special but hard work. Nowadays, his business runs smoothly, so he, from time to time, let his manager run the store unsupervised. However, in the beginning, he was onsite every single day. What beats hard work after all?
No Aisle Numbers: Attentive Customer Service
While showing me around his store, he raised a question: “What’s the difference my store has over others?” I replied, “for one, the floor is wood, overall it’s bright, a large wig section, and everything is modern.” He wanted more. What answer was he looking for? It was the absence of section numbers in C&S Beauty. Typically, retail stores post section numbers, so an attendant can assist a customer using them as reference, such as “it’s in aisle number 1.” At C&S Beauty, all staff members personally show where the item is by walking the customer to where it is. “Do you guys have time for that?” I asked in disbelief, but he returned a simple answer. Letting customers know where an item is and providing information is the key to good customer service. Aside from the absence of section numbers, the outstanding overall store design was made possible with assistance from his sister-in-law’s husband who runs a furnishing business. This year, he plans to add LED lights for the show window of the store, so people can see the inside clearly from far outside.
Targeting High Income Customers with a Luxurious Feel
Mr. Woo owns two other retail stores in Atlanta downtown, and C&S Beauty was his third addition. In Lawrenceville, Georgia, C&S Beauty targets more affluent customers than its downtown siblings. His goal is to make customers feel that they gain a high status by simply visiting C&S Beauty. While it charges two-to-three dollars more for the same product sold at his downtown locations, customers do not raise issues with pricing. In addition, C&S Beauty is located right in front of the city hall, which brings a lot of government employees to the store. For the government workers, 5% discount is offered.
Manager Elisa, the Mascot of C&S Beauty
Elisa, a Korea-born manager, is cheerful and always full of energy. When heard from distance, you would guess she was an African American descent due to her accent. As she is a people person in high spirits, customers love her. With more than 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, she helps her customers with fluent English. Mr. Woo tends to establish a system and let a manger, who knows the products and employees well, run it. Mr. Woo does not like the idea of a store owner occupying the register. Refreshing her memories from the first acquaintance with Mr. Woo, she describes “Mr. Woo likes taking memos as he is a very articulate and detailed person.” She immigrated to the U.S. in ’89 when she was 11, based on her aunt’s petition. Her management style is entirely of America. She never calls an employee without using a proper title. She always respects employees by adding Miss. She has her personal reasons for doing so as she felt disrespected when called “hey” or by just name at previous workplaces. She decided that she would never do that to her staff members. Notwithstanding her respect for employees, she knows how to manage people. As many job candidates come with an expectation that the job will be easy at a clean and pretty retail store, she asks them for a “date” for the first two weeks, and the training always starts with cleaning duties. During the first two weeks, candidates may decide to go the other way or be considered unfit for the business by the management.
C&S Beauty on Google Review
Despite being a relatively new store, it already garnered 154 reviews with 4.6 rating. In summary, the reviews talked positively about customer service, discount and reward programs, a wide range of product offerings, and pricing.
Differentiating Points of C&S Beauty
Utilization of POS System for Marketing
C&S Beauty makes continuous effort to evolve. A newer kind of POS machine offers a few unique features. First, customers can enter their phone number on a keypad next to the credit card processing module to load their reward points which can be then spent like cash. While most beauty supplies allow the use of reward points toward a purchase over 10 dollars, you can use reward points toward any purchase at C&S Beauty. If you are registered as a beautician, your discount will be applied automatically. Second, you can access store performance data via POS website to analyze them by brands. When reordering is needed, it notifies the store with a message that a certain stock is running low. (More information about POS can be obtained from Purejoin POS & Reward at (678) 206-0500.)
New Customer Welcome Gift
Mr. Woo handed me a gift bag at the end of the interview. It was a glass mug in purple, Mr. Woo’s favorite color, packed in a bag in the same color. The mug and shopping bag are specially ordered with a business name print. While these cost money for the business in a short run, Mr. Woo wants to treat his customer and make them feel welcomed. Customers have provided of feedback that the bag was pretty hefty. Many of them are reportedly using it for grocery shopping or as a gym bag.
Discovering New Items
Manager Elisa asked me from the cash register, “you care for an energy drink?” The drink in an orange package was a vitamin drink. It is a syrup containing vitamins, and the selling point is its weight-gaining effect. It is recommended for customers who want curvy bodies but struggle to gain weight. Product information for these products are obtained from beauty magazines, beauty associations, or sometimes surveying the market on foot.
Various Events and Promotions
Grand opening in June 2018 and the one-year anniversary in 2019 for C&S Beauty was fully of festivities. 30 customers won sweepstakes for TV, laptop, iPad, make-up kits, and hair products. Photos of sweepstake winners posing with Mr. Woo were posted on the store’s social media account for promotion and public relations for the company. It was accompanied by a make-up event co-sponsored by Sistar Cosmetic, where customers could try makeup products before making a purchase. These sorts of events are announced on social media as well as via personal notifications to customers whose phone numbers or email addresses are on the POS system. For the text messages, five cents per message are charged, but more people read texts, which makes it more effective than emails
Online Marketing through Website and Social Media
Being an early adopter, Mr. Woo runs a website and Instagram account for business. While the website focuses on providing product information and notifying sales events, Instagram is where his business communicates with customers. From promotion to launching a new product to hiring, everything happens online, including Instagram a popular platform among his customers. As customers can find information about new products and business hours, they need not make a phone call. An employee named Jessica who is young and into cute things manages the Instagram account.
C&S Store Brand for Hair Products
In front of the register, you can find C&S beauty branded hair products in purple-colored logo. A cheaper product with comparable quality is placed right beside the cash register, so it sells pretty well. Bundle as well as lace closure products are available with Mink Brazilian hair in straight and body wave styles.
Free Stocking Cap for Wig Trial
In most beauty supplies, you would pay a dollar for the stocking cap before trying a wig. In C&S Beauty, it is free.
We want to give thanks to Mr. Woo as well as Manager Elisa, and other staff members for sharing their valuable time for the interview